How Much Text Should I Use in My Videos?




  • — October 12, 2017

    We already know that more people prefer to watch videos instead of reading text. But what about text in videos? How much text, if any, should be used?

    Though the emphasis is on the visual when it comes to videos, the text we use plays an important part, too. It can help provide context, and really drive your main point home. It’s effective- as long as it’s used correctly.

    In this post, we’re going to take a look at how much text you should use in your videos, and how to use it for best results.

    Text as a Tool for Context

    While text should never be the main draw of any video that you should watch, it should fit into the video seamlessly to enhance it. Ideally, it should be used as a tool to provide context. This can help to establish what’s going on, provide organization, and aid in creating clarity. It can help keep users up to speed, almost like subliminal messaging that’s right there on the screen in front of them, helping the video progress smoothly and emphasizing your main points.

    A quick summary of what this means: text can help improve your video, but should never be the focus of it. We’ll take a look at more examples of what this means in the following sections.

    4 Ways to Use Text In Videos

    Text in videos can do a lot of good, and there’s four key ways that you should consider using text in your marketing videos for optimal success.

    1. Captions

    Because mobile video viewing is surpassing desktop, and because most social media channels auto-play videos with no sound, increasing amounts of video are watched in complete silence. More than 85% of videos are actually watched without sound on Facebook alone. Captions, therefore, are key.

    If your video includes actual narrative, add captions to your videos before sharing them. Some sites, like Facebook or YouTube, have tools that allow you to add captions to your videos. Other video-editing software like Camtasia also gives you this option.

    How Much Text Should I Use in My Videos?

    2. Introduce People & Brands

    Using text to introduce people, brands, or even the location or event they’re currently at is a great way to use text in videos. People may not know exactly who the person you’re interviewing is until they see “Donna Noble, Companion to the Doctor” written in the bottom corner of the screen. This type of text helps to establish authority, credibility, and context very quickly, and it helps your video look polished, too.

    3. Organize the Video Into Segments

    Text can do wonders when you need to break up a video into smaller segments. Examples include:

      • Featuring Q&A questions in text
      • Writing out each step to a tutorial in text, as the video demonstrates the step
      • Breaking a single long story into a shorter, more cohesive one

    Text, when used as segmentation, can keep the video organized, and it can also help to create that crucial beginning, middle, and end that users unconsciously expect when watching video content.

    4. The CTA At The End

    There’s a lot of things that are different between a video you’d share on your personal Instagram and your business’s Page. One of the biggest differences would be a call to action (CTA_ at the end of said video.)

    All videos created for businesses should focus on inspiring specific actions from viewers. That goal can be “purchase our microwave” or it can be “subscribe to our YouTube channel.” Whatever the desired action you want customers to take, you need to tell them to take it.

    Adding a text CTA at the end of your videos is always a good choice. It ends the video firmly with a visual call for users to take a certain action, instead of just hoping that they’ve picked up the cues. This can increase action significantly. It’s why Shakr’s video templates all have room for text on the final slide.

    CTAs don’t have to be long; instead, the opposite is actually true. Keep the call to action direction and concise, making it as simple as possible. A quick “Learn more at our site” is highly preferable to “Learn everything you ever wanted to know at our site, which can be found at this address and is waiting for you now!” Ten words or less is a requirement; five words or less is ideal.

    Text in Videos: What Not To Do

    Text in videos can be a very good thing; when used correctly, it will elevate the look of the videos and leave a better impression on your viewers. When things go astray, however, it could hurt your video’s performance.

    There’s a few big mistakes you should avoid when adding text to your videos. These include:

        • Using enormous blocks of text. This works great for the openings of movies in the Star Wars franchise, but if you’re not George Lucas, skip the huge blocks of text. It overwhelms users; it’s why they’re choosing to watch a video, after all, instead of reading about the same concept. Text should only be used to provide context to the video- it shouldn’t make up a majority of the video itself.
        • Using text that’s too small. While we want the text in our videos to be unobtrusive, the last thing you want is for it to be ineffective. It’s easy to forget about mobile considerations when creating your videos, but more videos are now watched on mobile than desktop, and it’s harder for mobile users to see teeny-tiny text. Make sure the text is big enough to be read on a small smartphone.
        • Using text that can’t be read. The too-small text is only one example of writing that can’t be read. Other common culprits are strangely elaborate fonts (which, again, are even more difficult to read as the screen gets smaller) and text color that doesn’t stand out enough against the image’s background.

    Final Thoughts

    The majority of marketing videos benefit from some text addition, whether it’s placed on a landing page or goes viral on social media. Text in videos can be crucial to establishing context quickly and aiding in stronger organization. By adding text to your marketing videos, you’ll take your content from “I-made-this-on-my-iPhone” to videos that people will actually convert on.

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    Author: Ana Gotter

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